Meet the Exec - International/Outreach Officer and Parliamentary Liaison

Get to know our International/Outreach Officer Panny Antoniou, who also serves as our YES Bureau member, as well as Cathleen Clarke, our Parliamentary Liaison Officer.

Panny Antoniou - International/Outreach Officer

How did you first get involved in politics?

I have always been interested in politics; however my first political activism was during the 2016 referendum where I campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. From that point I was hooked and campaigned in the 2017 and 2019 general elections, as well as working with remain supporting groups in order to secure a second referendum. I joined the Labour Party following our loss in 2019 to help shape the future direction of the party and to get a progressive government which puts worker’s rights ahead of the rights of multinational corporations elected.

What made you join and get involved with the Young Fabians?

As one of the most prominent policymaking vehicles for progressive young people, I had heard a lot about the work which the Young Fabians did and attended a number of their events during lockdown. After joining, I was delighted to discover they had an international policy network – an area of policy which I am passionate about and which I feel we leave to the right far too often. I threw myself into it and was elected co-chair where I was fortunate enough to chair events on a range of issues with speakers from across the world.

What are your aims for the year ahead in your position?

As International and Outreach Officer, my role is simple. Making great links for the Young Fabians both at home and abroad and providing our members with exciting opportunities to get involved in the policy making process. This involves working closely with the Networks Officer and National Coordinator to ensure that we are making links with groups in a range of policy areas and across the country so that we can provide maximum benefit to our members.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?

My first step as Prime Minister would be to undo some of the terrible actions of the incumbent Conservative Party. A key one for me is the demonisation of migrants, especially those coming as refugees. I would close down the detention centres, end the hostile environment, and create safe routes for refugees fleeing persecution and conflict. Additionally, I would create a British Constitution to replace our current unwritten constitution which cements proportional representation in the UK Parliament and guarantees the fundamental rights of all people who live in this country, preventing any future Tory Government from running roughshod over our civil liberties as they are trying to do currently. I know that sounds like a lot to do in a day, but remember you have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé!

If you had to be stranded on a desert island with a Labour MP, who would it be and why?

I think it would have to be Emily Thornberry, she seems like she has a lot of practical skills and ideas which could help us off the island, and if we fail, she seems like she would be fun to have a drink with!

Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or ten duck sized horses, and why?

Ten duck sized horses for sure. A horse sized duck sounds terrifying, they are so aggressive and a beak that big would be a formidable weapon!

To get in touch with Panny, email p[email protected], or find him on twitter at @panny_antoniou.


Cathleen Clarke - Parliamentary Liaison Officer

How did you first get involved in politics?

Through the Young Fabians! A few years ago, I met a member of the Executive Committee - Jessica Toale, and she invited me to my first YF event. The event was fascinating, and I remember leaving full of thoughts, ideas, and questions. I then went on to work for an Anti-Brexit Campaign, a member of the Shadow Cabinet and I am now a parliamentary assistant working for a Labour MP. 

Fast forward a few years and I now find myself in Jessica’s shoes. Inspiring the next generation, connecting them to parliamentarians and bringing their ideas to life are my goals for my time on the Executive Committee.

What made you join and get involved with the Young Fabians?

The Young Fabians are a group of young people that provide real answers to the big questions of today and tomorrow. Our Labour Movement and our generation is stepping into a different world and we need lively and comradely discussion with the brightest minds and people with the best experiences. 

During the first lockdown (almost two years ago) I loved the online zoom events the YF Exec created. They were often the most interesting part of my day and really made me think about other things than what I was having for dinner that night and what slippers I was going to wear. Those events stopped me being “bored in the house”! 

What are your aims for the year ahead in your position?

To connect as many YF members with Labour MPs. From transport to social care, form education to the economy, I want to bring together generations of thought leaders and thinkers to tackle the biggest problems of our time.

I want to work with YF members across our regions and nations to create new, thought-provoking, and real policies for Labour at the next General Election. I also want to work with underrepresented members to make their voices heard across YF.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?

It would be a very very busy day! 

Firstly, I’d start by making sure every young child has access to safe, quality and nutritious food, both in school and out. Whether that’s installing breakfast clubs in primary schools with charities like “Magic Breakfast” or teaching children basic cooking skills – if we feed our children correctly then we will unlock a generation of young people who want to learn and achieve. It’s not Marcus Rashford’s job to feed hungry children, it’s the Prime Ministers. Every day he fails that test.

I would lower the voting age to 16 and introduce mandatory politics classes for young people. I would fund beekeeping and gardening schools so that people can access nature wherever they are and improve their environments. I would abolish tuition fees and fund mental health care for all in the NHS.

Then – a brief lunch break. A cheeky pint and a sandwich in Number 10.

The afternoon would consist of ripping up and rewriting the planning system so that anyone could afford to rent and hope to save for a house. From abolishing rogue landlords, developing a tenant’s charter and getting rid of NIMBYS – I believe that everyone has the right to live in good, affordable and energy efficient housing.

As I said – it would be a busy enough day, but I would stop to take a quick selfie in Number 10. I’ve never been, and it looks like a lovely place to live.

If Covid-19 didn’t exist -I throw a massive party and show the government how it’s really done.

If you had to be stranded on a desert island with a Labour MP, who would it be and why?

Emily Thornberry – she is the most amazing person to chat to and has the best stories! She is great fun to work with and I’m sure she would be great to live with on a desert island.

Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or ten duck sized horses, and why?

One horse sized duck – I’m confident I could outrun and out manoeuvre a duck the size of a horse.

To contact Cathleen, email her at [email protected] or find her on Twitter at @cathleenc_.

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